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  • Writer's pictureSeth Greenberg

Jojo Rabbit: An Interesting Satire On Fascist Germany

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

How do you take one of the most despicable events in human existence and manipulate its storyline into an interesting, satirical movie? This is the question director Taika Waititi answers in his newest movie Jojo Rabbit. As a person of Jewish heritage, I thought Jojo Rabbit would be hard for me to watch. Obviously, my opinion is justified through the attempt of "extermination" of the Jewish religion during World War II, and continuing linger of antisemitism today. Although I possess this justified resentment, Waititi somehow distracts me from Jewish mistreatment in World War II by creating a satirical atmosphere of the early 1940's Germany. Waititi does this by loosely basing Jojo Rabbit on World War II's horrific effect on millions of Jews and other "non-Aryan races." Waititi makes sure to create as little of a connection as possible between the film and death; instead, Waititi focuses on one young boy's life in Fascist Germany and how he starts to question his affection to Nazi ideology.

One of the most interesting aspects of Jojo Rabbit is the main character Johannes "Jojo" Betzler's (played by Roman Griffin Davis) change in ideology. After discovering a Jewish teenager (Elsa Korr/played by Thomasin McKenzie) supported by his mother (Rosie Betzler/played by Scarlett Johansson) hiding in his house, "Jojo" starts to build an, at first, unwanted connection to her. As his connection to Elsa Korr grows, his connection to the Nazi ideology starts to diminish. This idea included by Waititi created a large sense of satisfaction for me. Also, after discovering Elsa, "Jojo" starts to battle his "inner voice", AKA Adolf Hitler, on whether he should turn her into Nazi authority. Including Adolf Hitler in the film as an, at times, funny sidekick to "Jojo" was an extremely risky choice by Waititi (who also ironically played Hitler in the film). Although it was a unique choice, and could be seen as merely a caricature mocking Hitler, this specific idea sparked some of my resentment. This was due to seeing Hitler be portrayed as this non-violent, funny at times, sidekick to protagonist "Jojo". This, in real life, was obviously not the case. In my opinion, portraying Hitler as this pacifist Nazi lover in the film made the Nazi ideology seem way less detrimental and horrendous than what it truly was. Jojo Rabbit's idea, of its main character turning away from his Nazi lifestyle, was very interesting but portraying Hitler in such a way made the movie seem less satisfying and more angering.

Although this idea of the movie might be controversial, this is my true belief.

Contact me and tell me your opinion of Jojo Rabbit by going to the "Contact" section of my blog. Thank you!!

-Seth Greenberg

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